The Price-Ehrman debate—Pt. 6

Links:     YouTube     Post-debate discussion (audio)     Vridar In this series of posts I’ve tried to show that the Price-Ehrman debate suffered largely because the two principals play by vastly different ground rules. It’s hard to have a meaningful (much less an exciting) exchange of ideas if the assumptions, acknowledged experts, and evidence are so dissimilar. This reminds me of the global warming debate, or of the long-standing evolution-creationism debacle. In all these cases what seems obvious to the scientist is contested—inevitably because a very powerful anti-scientific agenda is in play. As James Crossley noted in the post-debate conversation,[minute 49] “Paul” is a case in point. For Ehrman and mainstream scholarship, the Apostle was real, a convert to Christianity only a few years after the … Continue reading

The Price-Ehrman debate—Pt. 5

Links:     YouTube     Post-debate discussion (audio)     Vridar In this post I’d like to comment on a few points in the Price-Ehrman debate that I found particularly important. The following discussions have reference especially to views I’ve presented elsewhere on this website and in the final chapter of my book NazarethGate. Where possible I link to relevant webpages. (a) Dating “Paul.” Ehrman dated Paul to the first century CE on the basis of the First Letter of Clement. However, the reference is invalid. We have recently noted on this website that 1 Clement mentions Paul several times: “It is traditionally attributed to Clement of Rome and dated somewhere between 81 and 98 CE. However, H. Detering (1994:75) has noted that the epistle knows 1 Corinthians … Continue reading

The Price-Ehrman debate—Pt. 4

Links:     YouTube     Post-debate discussion (audio)     Vridar In the debate, Ehrman trumpeted numerous positions that are completely indefensible from an evidentiary standpoint. It is astonishing to me that these fractured positions (below)—like broken vertebrae on a decomposing skeleton—comprise what many New Testament professors still consider the backbone of ‘mainstream’ thought. It is as if mythicist scholarship over the last two centuries—from Bauer to Brodie—simply doesn’t exist. And indeed it doesn’t exist, for no lecture hall in Christendom today admits the works of Jesus mythicists. The contemporary situation in biblical studies resembles that of the evolution-creationism debate. Since the time of Darwin science has proven that God did not create the universe in six days. According to a 2014 Gallup poll, however, over 40% of … Continue reading

The Price-Ehrman debate—Pt. 2

Links:     YouTube     Post-debate discussion (audio)     Vridar Mythicism is not “scholarly”? In the last post I mentioned that Jesus mythcists and historicists are talking past each other, and how I want to examine some underlying assumptions that may be the cause. So, here we’ll begin by looking at one little exchange that occurred in the debate. In the final cross-examination segment, Dillahunty asked “Why is mythicism not taken seriously?” Ehrman’s astonishing answer was simply an argumentum ad populum: “It’s not a question debated among scholars.” Wow. Of course, that has nothing to do with lack of evidence or even with history. The short exchange can be paraphrased like this: Dillahunty: Why is mythicism not taken seriously? Ehrman: Because it’s not [a question] taken seriously. … Continue reading

The Price-Ehrman debate—Pt. 1

Links:     YouTube     Cleeng (for those who already paid to view)     Post-debate discussion (audio)     Vridar      Note: This review is based on hand-written notes taken down quickly during the 3-hour debate hosted by Mythicist Milwaukee, before the debate went online (links above). Lacking time stamps, I have not rechecked quotations against the video. Hence, all quotes (even when quotation marks are used below) should be regarded as paraphrases, not as the exact renderings of words uttered. (Readers are welcome to email corrections, time stamps, and—as always—comments.)      A post-debate discussion among several scholars also took place. The audio of that secondary event is online, and I occasionally reference it (“Post-debate”) below with the applicable time stamp.      To date, Neil Godfrey (Vridar) has uploaded two posts regarding this … Continue reading

H. Detering confronts R. Carrier—Pt. 2

Paul, Mark, and other substitutions: Richard Carrier on The Fabricated Paul by Dr. Hermann Detering Edited and translated by René Salm   I’ve long wondered that Carrier’s responses to higher critical positions give the impression of having been formed through acquaintance at second hand, as would be the case were his learning gained through casual discussions or even hearsay. He routinely (and maddeningly) simply does not substantiate his claims. In any case, what he has to offer regarding higher criticism is usually incorrect. One telling example is his failure to distinguish between the authenticity of the Pauline epistles and the historicity of the Apostle. Carrier treats the two issues as one, seeming quite unaware that the majority of the Dutch … Continue reading

The Hebrew Gospel—Pt. 3

A second pre-synoptic gospel layer We must now add another source—and another layer—to the ongoing synoptic schema recently investigated on this blog. We recall that Matthias Klinghardt has elaborated a revolutionary schema of synoptic gospel development in his exhaustive 2015 volumes. His conclusions are summarized in graphic form below (left). Klinghardt proposes that the Gospel of Marcion (Mcn) preceded all the synoptic gospels, including that of Mark. For him, then, Mcn is the first pre-synoptic gospel layer (below). Klinghardt allows a rather generous chronological window to Mcn (90–150 CE). He also leaves the door open to the possibility of one or more gospels having preceded Mcn. Now, in the previous post I observed that a textual Gospel of Marcion probably … Continue reading

“A Shift in Time” (L. Einhorn)—Book review, Pt. 2

A Shift in Time: How Historical Documents Reveal the Surprising Truth About Jesus by Lena Einhorn (New York: Yucca Publishing, 2016) Review by Hermann Detering translated from the German by René Salm In the foregoing paragraphs I necessarily simplified Einhorn’s argument and left out much in her book that supports her hypothesis. The many charts and tables that graphically illustrate and summarize her points are particularly successful and greatly strengthen the book’s conclusions. [A list of illustrations following the table of contents would have made the charts even more useful.—R.S.] Despite the above, however, I find myself not entirely convinced by Einhorn’s solution. The focus of this study is too narrowly fixed upon Josephus. Left untreated are many currents that … Continue reading

“A Shift in Time” (L. Einhorn)—Book review, Pt. 1

A Shift in Time: How Historical Documents Reveal the Surprising Truth About Jesus by Lena Einhorn (New York: Yucca Publishing, 2016; 227+11 pages) Review by Hermann Detering translated from the German by René Salm [For a 2012 review of Einhorn’s work on this site, see here.] Lena Einhorn has distinguished herself in Sweden as a documentary filmmaker. She is known in Germany mostly for her Holocaust book, Ninas Reise (“Nina’s Journey: How my Mother Escaped from the Warsaw Ghetto”). Over the last decade, the focus of her interest has moved to early Christianity. In 2007 the English edition of her book appeared, The Jesus Mystery: astonishing Clues to the True Identities of Jesus and Paul (Guilford, Conn.: Lyons Press; German … Continue reading

“Jesus has a Nazareth problem” (interview transcript)—Pt. 4

Brian: One more question on the archeology itself… Do the different sects of Christianity agree on a location for Nazareth? Because you have the traditional Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox, the Armenian Church all existing there at the same time. Was there any scuttlebutt between them? René: [There has been much dispute in Nazareth itself over what took place where, who lived where, etc. Regarding the location of the town itself, however, there has been no dispute.—RS] No, no. I think everybody agrees… There’s been no discussion to my knowledge of any other Nazareth. I discuss this a little in my books. It would not fly at all… If somebody said that Nazareth was really somewhere else, then you’d have ancient … Continue reading